Looking at Sam I replied, "Heaven only knows that I've tried to be boring, but it just doesn't ever quite seem to work out that way. Glad to see you." It was all I could do to not run over to him and check for damage on his body. He didn't look in pain, but there was something about him that seemed off -- like he was recovering from trauma and pain.
I don't know who looked more shocked in our little crowd -- Eddie or Rena. The troll boys seemed to take it all in stride, while Adrienne was looking Sam up and down like he was the flavor of the week. I could tell that Sam had noticed her gaze, but elected to pretend that nothing was actually happening other than he strolled into their coffee shop just to find me -- by accident and all.
Eddie sputtered, "What the fuck now? Doesn't anyone here realize that I can kill you all just like that?" He snapped his fingers to emphasize the quickness he'd kill us and I turned immediately to Sam saying, "See, not boring."
Sam chanted something in Latin along the lines of "screw you" that caused the magics in the room to abruptly dispel. And I mean, from I felt, it was all the magic. The trolls looked like actual trolls -- misshapen, skin tones along natural shades of the Earth -- and the two women looked far more aged, haggard and worn than when they had been well glamoured to the naked eye -- human and at times supernatural. While Eddie looked golden with a blue-silver cast to his body. He was trying to pull energy from the room but failing. Sam wasn't weak, and Eddie was struggling to try to reduce the tell-tale glowing body that identified him immediately as non-human. He wasn't having much success.
Adrienne softly purred, "Delilah, is it? Aren't you going to introduce us to your friend?"
I glanced over at Sam to see that he was trying really hard to keep a grin off his face, so it was all I could do to not roll my eyes at him. I grew up with Sam, so I rarely gave him much more than a glance to see if I was doing something wrong, or if he approved of what I was doing during a lesson or in the field; I pretty much forgot that he was considered to be a handsome man. He was well over six feet tall with a lean runner's build -- that was good enough for most women and a few stray men, but once you added in the chiseled features, dark shoulder-length hair pulled back into a casual ponytail, and the sharp blue eyes -- there was a decidedly attractive man to consider and flirt with when given a chance.
Adding in his magical powers, I could literally feel Adrienne's attention and desire filling the space between them. I think I threw up a bit in my mouth at the idea of her strongly wanting Sam. Witchy-bitchy women both human and non- were constantly making passes at Sam, and I never saw any of them land him, but then his private life was just that: private. Her nearly panting aloud with need had dusted an odd look across her features that was more than a little disturbing. It wasn't quite predatory as I understood the term, but there were carnal thoughts behind her eyes that promised something laced in pain and lust. She wasn't in the least shy about her growing arousal, and I really didn't want to see her complete her pass. Kitchen knives and skewers were dancing through my thoughts, along with some nasty curse words and I saw Eddie wince out of the corner of my eye. It just served him right for peeking into my mind uninvited. I knew he was wincing over the swearing rather than my use of sharp objects on Adrienne's flesh.
Sam arched an eyebrow to me and I unclenched my jaw enough to reply, "Sam, please meet the trolls, witches and a self-appointed deity. Creatures meet Sam."
From the nasty look Adrienne gave me that wasn't what she meant by an introduction.
Oh well, not my concern. My concern was getting my ass out of the café without anyone harming me or killing me. Go figure, huh?
Eddie growled out, "Sam Fortuna? What the hell are you?"
"For starters I happen to be native to this world and you have no influence over me. And now," I felt a ripple of power jolt me and something lightened beneath my skin, "you have no control over Delilah."
Eddie must have pulled some energy out of his ass or something because there wasn't a drop to be found anywhere but in Sam, and now with Sam yanking Eddie's leash off my heart and soul I could feel my body recharging and my pendant glowing beneath my skin. Without fancy words Eddie unleashed a powerful spell that ripped across the room aiming right for Sam. I heard one of the women gasp as the silver-blue bolt flew towards Sam's heart. A foot from his chest there was an audible twang and the bolt simply dissipated without a sound.
Matt spit out, "Wow, Dude, you have mad skills! I am totally amazed."
I noticed that Eddie was also amazed and growing more and more pissed off at the deadly bolt failing to hit its mark. The wrath of thwarted gods wasn't something I wanted to witness first hand, because I would truly rather read about such things in fantasy novels instead of having to watch. Alas, much like Sam had said, my life wasn't boring. Tilting his face upwards, Eddie screamed madly at the unseen sky above us, and the room illuminated from the floor upwards. Every piece the four relocated creatures had sunk into the very ground they stood on every day was ripped free and floated at waist level around Eddie. I knew from earlier that each piece had been fed a steady stream of energy from the trolls and witches that helped them with their blending in (and killing off spare humans and non-humans in their free time). Every one of the bits and pieces spun slowly like small moons in orbit around a powerful planet. They increased their speed as Eddie spit out more of the archaic type of Latin he spoke. I wasn't able to make out all of the words but enough to know that he wasn't singing a lullaby.
On the other hand Sam understood more than I did I concluded as he ripped out one of his own little spells. This was spoken in English and aloud.
"Enough! All this stops right now and right here or I will banish you and your creatures off world." A crackle of light flew from Sam's open palms and chased around the room dispelling the charge of light that Eddie had pulled out from nowhere yet everywhere at the same time.
What Sam had said ... I knew that it wasn't an idle threat but a promise. My skin itched as I felt the Power behind his words. All the enchanted charms, pieces of metal and stones fell immediately to the destroyed flooring and Eddie glared at me as if I'd caused all the drama just to make him mad. Wisely I kept my trap shut and let Sam do my talking. The three of us knew perfectly well that Eddie had no permission to tag me with something when I'd been in-between-the-worlds. He must have done it during the time he'd been spinning the tale of the banishment that he and his fellow gods and goddesses had done to Matt, Bob, Rena and Adrienne, landing them long ago on Earth. Sam was protective of me and had found the intrusion quickly. I hadn't realized how much it had been causing me to feel drained until he'd removed it.
Eddie flipped into Jeff the cat, and tried to run to the back of the building. Without pausing, Sam motioned and said, "Trap." And from out of nowhere a large cage instantly surrounded Jeff trapping him in the middle of the store. I watched Jeff's eyes change in color to his normal feline shade and he looked somewhat surprised to find himself caged, but instead of shoving himself around the cage simply circled a few times and curled into a tight ball as if that was where he meant to be all the time. I couldn't see an ounce of Eddie inside the furry creature.
I looked to Sam and shrugged before saying, "I wager old Eddie went off to recharge and gather his own friends." All the while I was thinking of the cave and the story of how all the godheads had gathered together to decide the fates of the four creatures here on Earth now. From my recall of the story that took more than a few hours, so I guess that meant we had time to get a game plan together before he came back.
With Eddie gone the four looked relieved but still wary. For all they knew Sam and I were here to kill them. Not a bad idea, but I found myself reluctant to kill them outright because from what I knew, it wasn't their choice to be put on our planet. But the evidence of all the death and destruction that they had done while here was written literally in blood all over their shop. That alone would normally be an immediate death sentence, but I felt myself resisting my base urges for some unknown reason.
Finally Bob asked, "So, like, are you guys going to kill us or send us home?"
His humble question struck a nerve. Looking over at Sam I could see that he too was tossing around that very question. These four were not great examples of tenderness and caring, but they had taken care of each other despite their beginnings. They weren't enemies any longer, but survivors of the banishment from their known world. I wasn't often given to introspective thoughts when confronted by trolls. My instant reaction was to kill them and they wouldn't live to harm any more of us. What if I'd been caught in their world? How the hell would I have done? They really didn't think that humans were anything more than servants and slaves, not worthy of feelings. I'd seen enough of how they were raised -- at least the boys -- to know they didn't have it easy, but as princes they had it better than most. The entitled feelings weren't as bad as they could have been given their upbringing, but still something in me was softened. I ground my molars and focused on Sam instead. He still looked like he was not a hundred percent, but on the mend. I think using his magic and having a deity in a cage made him feel much better. I know I was happy to see him alive.
Sam sighed and said, "If I let you all have a bit of your power back will you be good or do I have to shut you down?"
The question shocked them all. I gathered that they all figured we were going to simply kill them. Rena was the first to reply, "Okay, if that's what you want to do."
Noticing her words were purring rather than spitting out angry, I snapped out, "Not so fast."
I pulled my pendant out and went to her face and twirled the gem while saying, "I heard the lies in between your words. Are you sure you want to stick with that naughty plan building between you and Adrienne?"
Slowly spinning the pendant, I didn't bother to use any juice, because her eyes were mirrors to her dark soul and she had been rapidly plotting. They all were so tightly entwined with the others that it was nearly like a hive mentality, and I could feel and hear their thoughts darting to the others. Adrienne and Rena were the leaders -- that was true -- but the boys were chiming in with ideas just as well. Sam nodded as he caught the waves of information going on and was more than a little surprised. I think I had more time to figure it out because of the time spent in the cave in-between-the-worlds. Not that it made me the expert, just I wasn't as shocked. I waited to see what Sam would do.
The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.